Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I met David Simon

No shit. I was walking through the Dulles airport yesterday getting to the shuttle to my gate and I saw David Simon walking towards the same shuttle. I said, "Are you David Simon?" he said yes, and I said " The Wire is the best show in the history of TV." He said thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I said, "Well, it has a deeper meaning to me, as a fellow Baltimoron," he gives a little laugh.

We ended up sitting next to each other on the shuttle and chatting for however long it took. He talked to me about casting The Wire ("there are so many massively talented black actors out there that don't get work"), his new show ("I'll get to piss off another city") and Fruity Rudy in Gen Kill ("we read every single hispanic guy that was in that kind of condition, and even thought about dropping the character a bit because it doesn't read well, but eventually, some people you just can't make up and Rudy is one of them) about the Marines at the Emmys ("I didn't go, but they went and wore their dress blues and had a blast") about whether Hamsterdam was based on any kind of reality (he was heading to Amsterdam "[chuckles] nah, about the closest I knew of was a guy who would say 'business hours are 4-8'").

This man is the Mencken of our time. If you haven't watched The Corner, The Wire, or Generation Kill, you absolutely need to. When I said the Wire was the best show ever on television, I wasn't bs'ing. It really is. It might be the best narrative fiction ever put to film. Seriously, just take a look at the Directors and especially the Writers involved.

I wish I would have had the chance to ask him if the 5 seasons were really based on the Greek tragedy archetype and all sorts of other things, but was damn happy to have met him.

I have actually said, out loud to friends that David Simon is one of the people I would really like to meet (I would have preferred a couple of hours over drinks, but 5 minutes will do) and lo and behold, I got to meet him.

Also on the list, Arsene Wenger. I'm heading to the Emirites in a couple of weeks, so who knows?

Great gobs of fire

My friend Michael invited me over for dinner. Grilled some lamb with a Provençal mix of potatoes, olives, roasted peppers and tomato. The Châteuneuf was a good match, the Barolo not as much.

1998 Janasse Châteuneuf-du-Pâpe Vielles Vignes
I liked this more than I expected. The wine was incredibly rich and dense with lots of compote fruit that seemed to stick to the inside of the mouth. There were some complimentary garrigue components, but the main sensation and flavors were jammy fruit notes. Although seemingly balanced, it was not a delicate sort of balance, more like two Greco wrestlers pushing for position. The alcohol grew a bit tiring for me, but the first glass did go well with the food.

2004 Roagna Barolo Rionda
I know, I know, infanticide, blah blah blah. I wanted to check this out as a young wine to see the structure of it so that I can understand it as it ages. This is a new vineyard for Luca and co. and it is one of the great vineyards, if not THE great vineyard, of Barolo. It is more open than one might expect. This displayed a really distinct and piercing note of fennel/anise. While more lush than I would have expected, it does have some tannin buried underneath that came out more as the evening wore on. Not nearly as strict as the Roca et Pira bottling from Roagna. My guess is that this will drink well on the early side. Maybe 6-8 years, but with continued development for a good long while.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dinner with a colleague, and I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed these bottles over dinner with a colleague and his wife. This was a nice treat for me as I generally don’t socialize with folks from work, but this particular colleague I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and he has been an invaluable ally while getting situated here.

2001 Nikolaihof Riesling Federspiel Vom Stein
My last bottle and a very good showing. While I may have preferred it younger for the zippiness and mineral character of youth, it has settled into a nice yellow-fruited vaguely honey-suckle/floral mid-life roundness. Quite delicious and should be drunk soon if not now.

1996 Domaine de Courcel Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Épenots
This bottle showed very well, in a quiet, mature and understated way. I generally find this wine to be among the most elegant in Pommard. My colleague’s wife, who claims to not really like red wines quite liked this. As she put it, it’s very velvety and not heavy, in fact, it has that beautiful weightless quality that we all love in red Burgundy. I’ve been pretty happy with Courcel wines and they are still relative bargains. This wine can be consumed now, but I think it will continue to show well for a while.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WNMBWMTF & Croix Boisée

Dinner with WNMBWMTF and her folks at Rue Cler. The new chef has really stepped up the game. WNMBWMTF’s folks have been pretty open and appreciative to cool wine, so I thought I’d test them further.

Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve
As usual, this is an great way to start a meal and a good value in real Champagne. Not the best bottling I've had of this, but still pretty good. I mean, for Champagne.

2007 François Chidaine Vouvray Clos Baudoin
Indicative of the vintage, this is slight and pretty with hints of honeysuckle over some pearish fruit, light as Spring rain with hints of rocks. Good and satisfying wine. It'll be interesting to see what Francois is able to do with this vineyard as he gets it under harness and has more experience working it. The 2008 was certainly promising in February but will need more time. This is ready to drink now.

1996 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissée
I’m of two minds about this wine. The nose is gorgeous, with just enough bottle sweetness and secondary aromas to flesh out the residual stone-pit fruit and minerals. There is an undeniable chalky quality to Croix Boissée and this wine has it in spades. What really makes this wine rise above the crowd is the precision of it. You can truly tell the quality of the site. The palate is in a little more confusing place at the moment. It is coiled enough, but doesn’t really seem to fan across the palate. This could mean one of two things: either the palate is drying out or it is just not quite there yet. I think I'll wait another 3-5 for my next bottle.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goat cheese and archetypes

My friend Matt cooked a dinner out at Elodie Farms not too far back. Elodie Farms is a local producer of goat cheese that both he and my brother use. Dave, the owner, is a riot and it was a fun evening.

2004 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Néore
How does one critique the archetype? A great wine. Maybe not as intense as the 2002 or as dense and tactile as the 2005, but great wine.

2002 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Bourgogne
A decent showing, but not especially complex or interesting. Most folks rate this Bourgogne very highly, but it isn’t in the Mugneret or Barthod league, IMO. I've been disappointed with most 2002 d'Angerville at this stage. They just seem dull and flattened out. I guess this might re-emerge in a couple of years, but this is my last bottle and I wish I had drank it when it was young and exhuberent.

2005 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvée Domaine
The “go-to wine” right now. Whatever that means. But in all seriousness, while this wine has all the material in place to age pretty gracefully, it is no crime to dig in now. However, that being said, the 2004 is drinking much better at this particular moment. I think this wine is an outrageous value and really flexible at the dinner table.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The gods smiled

This was one of those nights where everything showed fantastically. In fact, for the reds each was the best bottle of said wine that I've ever had; although, it has been a good while since I've had the 82 Pichon-Lalande.

2007 Baudry Chinon Blanc La Croix Boissée
This isn’t showing nearly as well as the 2006 at the moment. It was a much leaner vintage and the wine is more elegant and pretty and soft spoken. Still there are plenty of flowers and chalky fruit. It’ll be interesting to see where this is at in 6 months or so.

1996 Edmond Cornu Corton-Bressandes
My best bottle yet of this and easily the best showing I've had from 1996 red Burgundy thus far. Still retaining some fruit notes, but happily moving on to secondary sous bois with a heady nose that adds spice to the mix. This was really beautiful and delicious. I could have drunk the whole bottle myself. This is why we cellar wines.

1993 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello
This was amazing. The best California cabernet I've had this year. The nose was a stunning mix of that Montebello smokey oak (with hints of American-ness), dark earth and minerals and impeccably fresh red and blue pitted fruits. Still has enough tanning to frame the wine nicely and enough acid to provide lift. For me, this is in a perfect place. It will surely last and maybe even improve depending on your preferences, but since I like to catch wines when they still have some fruit and tanning but have added secondary bottle complexity, this was great for me. I’d be a buyer of well stored bottles, even at close to $100. This really is “first growth” quality. However, I should note that the alcohol is 12.9%, so it must not be phenologically ripe. Dumbasses.

1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse Pauillac
This was to be the star of the dinner, the Important wine. Loyal readers know how I feel about Important wines, but we were so deep in conversation about this, that and the other that we forgot to genuflect and ended up enjoying it for it’s luxuriant mouthfeel and combination of earth, herbs, tobacco and dried fruit swirling around the dark fruit compote that was still at the core. This bottle was fully resolved and ripe yet still elegant (not ripe in a cal cult way). The cork was soaked so I’m not sure if it has been pristinely kept before my friend got it, but I would say if you own this, there is no harm in drinking it now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why we have cellars

I’ve said this several times before in several places on the intertubes, but it bears repeating. The reason to have a wine cellar is not to have a Collection. Sure, there are a few bottles that I have that folks would consider trophies, but all of my wine was bought with the intention of drinking. The real reason to keep a cellar is to drink little wines, or at least not Important wines when they’re aged properly. The other night, the we’re-not-married-but-we’re-more-than-friends and I went to dinner at Vin Rouge. As it turns out, Matt had whole cow rib with the bone in from which he cut an enormous Cote-du-Bouef. Wow.

1991 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain Estate cabernet sauvignon
The color has started to take on some bricking and the nose has settled into some nice tertiary aromas. It is in a fairly quiet place now, no more angry youth or awkward adolescence. Desiccated fruit, vegetation, everything. There is something about Patrick Campbell’s cabernet that has a distinctly gravelly quality to me. Something I think of as Graves-ish, in a way but something all its own. This wine is very good and a comforting partner to food and conversation. Without the weight of Greatness on its shoulders, it can just be. There is something refreshing about that which I instinctively gravitate towards. I’m not sure what anyone would gain by aging this longer except if you wanted to see where it goes when really old.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The gods frown

Sometimes the gods frown and you just can’t find a good wine experience. Maybe it was the high pressure system, maybe the phase of the moon, or maybe just coincidence.

1998 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape
What a disappointment. I was in the (very) rare mood where I wanted a nice, lush grenache and Charvin seemed like the answer. This bottle wasn't. It was flat and dull and without and of the richness and depth I would expect. In fact, only 1 off my 6 bottles of this wine lived up to my early expectations. This bottle didn't have any technical flaws other than being just average, even for grenache. This reminds me why I got out of the Châteauneuf game, it so rarely delivers what I want.

2006 Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissée
I had heard (or really read) rumors that this vintage of Croix Boissée was a replay of 2003, a wine that was drinking splendidly young. What better way to keep your hands off 2002, 2004, 2005 than have a ready to drink replacement for the Croix Boissée urge. Wrong. Tight, tight, and tight. Showed really piercing acidity and was like a limestone brick in the mouth. Some pretty things going on in the nose, but not in any sense showing well. I stuffed the cork back in to try in a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Châteauneuf blanc, who knew?

An old friend from graduate school who I haven’t seen in several years was in town. We enjoyed dinner at Rue Cler.

2006 Éric Texier Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes
My guest claimed to not be that into white wines. I told her she had no idea what she was talking about. Well she sure came around to this hogging the last glass for herself. It started off slowly, but was refreshing and linear from the start. As the bottle opened, it started to put on flesh and the flowers became more deeply perfumed and the palate broadened. This has been my favorite Châteauneuf Blanc for a few years now. Eric is doing some seriously good work here. I think the wine is a blend of bourbelanc and clairette.

1996 Joël Taluau Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes
Inspired by a recent FLAJim note about this wine, I thought I’d check in on one of my remaining bottles. I really like where this is at the moment, although others might want it to have more time. I like the sense of shape that it has right now. Trapezoidal. There are fine mineral and dirt bones underneath of leafy/tobacco top notes. Somewhere in between some dried red fruits are sensed more than tasted. Very good wine but in such a great vintage one becomes aware of the gulf in class between it and the better sites in Bourgueil and Chinon.

Renardat-Fâche Vin du Bugey-Cerdon
Alpine and delicious. I could drink my bodyweight in this wine.

2008 Bodegas Ostatu Rioja Blanco
For whatever reason, I really like this wine. It doesn’t stick in the memory in any profound way, but it has drive and purity and is a nice antidote to muggy Southern weather.

2006 Domaine de Roally Viré-Clessé Tradition
I’ve commented on this wine several times. I can’t stop drinking it even though I know I should wait a few years. Why I don’t have a cellar full of Roally, I don’t know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Even non-geeks love geeky wine

I would like to thank the Politburo and the other disorderlies for making this the refuge of choice on the intertubes.

Over the weekend, I enjoyed a magnificent bottle of 2006 Baudry Chinon Blanc La Croix Boisée. This was screaming delicious from the moment it was opened. Thrilling nose of stones, Sweettart, limestoney that seemed to shimmer and pulse. On the palate it was racy and alive, as if it had absorbed its fat and transformed it into muscle, but with just enough cushion so as not to be freakish. One of the best bottles I’ve had in a while. Exhilarating, even to the decidedly non-geek I was dining with.

A difficult act to follow, but a bottle of 2001 Chevillon Les St. Georges was stellar, if not quite as captivating, but that’s some hair splitting. Unlike the Baudry, this was tight upon first opening. Clinched and with its structure in the forefront it took a while to open. Once it did, it was excellent. Everything you could want in a Burgundy. Layers of fruit, minerals, and brush, draped atop a lattice like structure. This may be the most consistently pleasing wine in all of Burgundy. I’ve never had one be brutally mean, even if I opened it too young, and I’ve never had one be terrible, even in difficult vintages. This vintage has epic written all over it. It should be a fine wine for a couple of decades although you can enjoy it now for those silky layers of fruit if you have a decent stash.

We followed these up the next day with a stunning bottle of 2006 George Descombes Morgon. My mother loves Descombes and put a huge dent in my stash the last time she was here. This bottle showed splendidly with lacey stoney fruit that mixed in hints of flowers, herbs and sunshine. About as delicious as a wine can be and I see no reason to age it further. Incidentally, non geeks love this wine.

Last but not least, a wine that I think really typifies Wine Disorder, the 2007 Puzelat pineau d’Aunis La Tesniere. I’ve always had a soft spot for the wines of Thierry (and those he makes with his brother Jean-Marie) and I’ll accept the odd flawed bottle or rough patch to experience the gorgeousness of something like this. This bottle was fresh, vibrant, snappy but with just enough pineau d’Aunis grip to stand steadfast in the face of some fatty food. I could drink my bodyweight in this. Really.

I’m with Blackwood, all hail 2007!

Happy Birthday Wine Disorder. I think we all know that I’m the obvious choice for Stalin.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wine Disorder is 1 year old today

Go on. Go over to Wine Disorder and check it out.

Dressner has been out as a member of the Politburo and then summarily purged.

This is a fantastic board full of witty and erudite folks. For some reason, there are those that find it too clubby or intimidating. All wine boreds are clubby. Don't be intimidated, just dive right in. You'd be surprised at how welcoming folks are.

Now, about the lack of posting on my blog. It has been a ridiculous summer. I was in a crazy car accident in June that threw me for a loop

And then following that, I presented to the ER with chest pains, had an irregular EKG and was kept for observation. It turns out that after a complete work-up, I was fine, but it scared the shit out of me.

The I had to travel a bunch, the HVAC system for the upstairs fucked up and flooded my house which is still in the process of getting fixed and tons of other hassles to deal with.

Anyway, I have some notes that I'll try to put up in the next week or so and then try to get back to a more normal schedule if anyone still bothers to check.

cheers ya'll.